A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety By Jimmy Carter

“America did not invent human rights. In a very real way, human rights invented America.” That’s Jimmy Carter, born in Plains, Georgia (1924). He took over the family peanut farm after his father died in 1953, and he expanded the farm into a fertilizer business, a farm supply business, and a peanut-shelling plant. He got interested in politics after he refused to join a citizens’ group that opposed the integration of schools. He became the governor of Georgia and then, in 1977, the 39th president of the United States. Carter said he wanted to end what he called “the imperial presidency.” He walked down Pennsylvania Avenue for his inauguration, often wore informal clothes at official appearances, and sold the presidential yacht.

Jimmy Carter said: “A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It is a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity.”

The 39th president and Nobel Peace Prize winner reflects on his full and happy life with pride, humor, and a few second thoughts.


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